SEO Strategy For 2021: Digital PR
Years ago, prior to Google, social media, online reviews and the plethora of other internet marketing platforms, practices had limited options to credibly market their services. Most professoinal practices resisted advertising in the Yellow Pages, newspapers, magazines, billboards, or mass media due to high costs, but also because of concerns for the practice’s image.
Instead, the focus was on word-of-mouth marketing and earning “free exposure” through Public Relations (PR) and becoming an authority figure for media stations and newspapers. However, over the course of time, the popularity of traditional PR declined as quickly as marketing on the Internet grew. See Google’s search trend for Public Relations (2004-today), below.
2020 Resurgence: Digital PR
Although interest in traditional PR has declined, the importance of earned media and credibility has not. In fact, it has become increasingly important in today’s digital marketing world. The fact is Public Relations never really went away; instead, it transformed to adjust to today’s online consumers, websites, and platforms. Referred to as Digital PR, it is taking on a much bigger role in today’s online marketing and advanced SEO strategies.
In fact, many of Google’s algorithm updates, including the May 2020 Core Update have been re-enforcing its emphasis on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) ranking factors, which is also addressed in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
These changes have broadened digital marketing and SEO thinking and now have practices revisiting and embracing Public Relations. Google Trends shows a particularly big increase in interest for Digital PR since the May update.
What is Digital PR?
Digital PR is like traditional PR in that the underlying goal is to manage, enhance, and elevate the visibility, awareness, reputation and understanding of your practice and its brand through credible 3rd party sources.
Where PR focused simply on targeting stations and newspapers, Digital PR has expanded to also utilize a wider variety of platforms and digital media to create relationships with online journalists, influencers, bloggers, organizations, vendors and industry experts that are relevant to your business and local market.
In simple terms, the overall objective is to earn exposure, traffic and links across numerous platforms such as news, informational, industry and local community websites, blogs, social media, podcasts, business networks, etc.
Types of Digital PR Strategies
A thorough address of Digital PR strategies goes well beyond what I can cover in a blog article and maintain most practice’s attention. However, to provide some hands-on tactics and things your practice can start implementing, here is a short list of some quick suggestions. Use them as starting points to craft your creative Digital PR marketing plan for 2021.
- Publish online articles and posts on high consumer interest topics that attract quality backlinks. This could be in the form of blogs, posting in social media, online groups, and industry websites.
- Network with industry and local journalists and editors and monitor requests to provide an outlet for useful content. Unlike traditional media, digital media doesn’t have additional overhead associated with more content and has an almost unlimited need for timely, relevant, quality content.
- Publish and distribute timely and newsworthy press releases to earn press features. Releases still have a purpose; just be sure it really is newsworthy and written in the appropriate style.
- Reach out to industry bloggers and influencers to gain backlinks and mentions on relevant posts and articles.
- Use existing personal connections in your community to build digital online relationships. This includes places you have donated time or money (such as local churches/temples and civic causes), conferences or events where you have given speeches, or local businesses you have partnered with for a promotion or event.
- Create a partnership with a worthy charity who has a cause that you share a common connection or belief.
- Sponsorships: Consider sponsoring local events, like running events, drives, school activities and even create scholarship opportunities for .edu backlinks.
- Offline press events or blogger events that aim to gain online coverage.
- Sharing and syndicating infographics or other original researched data, trend or statistical graphics.
Digital PR has many direct and indirect benefits to businesses. Not only can it help improve your search engine visibility and rankings, but it also drives high-quality direct traffic, solidifies your online brand trust (Google favors brands), which enhances your ability to convert exposure into leads and leads into new clients.
If you would like a free assessment of your practice’s digital footprint and PR, call us at (202) 918-2450, or Contact Us.